Reclaiming the future of food and farming

GroundTruth Blog

Linda Wells
Jun 13, 2012
On a rainy day in Iowa last month, I found myself crowded into a small building perched on the Mustard Seed Community Farm near Ames. I was joined by PAN's new staff scientist, Emily Marquez, and we were honored to teach a group of local farmers how to use the PAN Drift Catcher. The training took place at a field day hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), and despite the downpour, we had a productive and fascinating afternoon. PFI is an organization of Iowa farmers promoting "profitable, ecologically sound, and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture." Their... Read More
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Margaret Reeves
Jun 12, 2012
What does the federal Farm Bill have to do with a healthy diet? More than you'd think, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). To get more fresh produce into our diets we need to reverse the policies that put up barriers — rather than provide incentives — for farmers to produce the fresh fruits and vegetables so urgently needed in the diets of most of us in the U.S. With the Senate deep in Food & Farm Bill debates this week, the impact of our current policies on our economy, environment and health is on the table for discussion. UCS makes the case that a... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
Jun 07, 2012
Lice shampoos containing lindane continue to be allowed in the U.S., despite being slated for a global ban due to the organochlorine pesticide's persistence and toxicity. Last week, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) urged the Obama Administration to pull these products from the U.S. market once and for all. In 2009, more than 160 nations agreed to ban the agricultural uses of lindane, and to phase out pharmaceutical uses around the world by 2014. Lindane shampoos and lotions have been banned in California since 2002, and several other states have moved to severely restrict the use... Read More
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Margaret Reeves
Jun 05, 2012
Farmers who protect their soil using organic or other sustainable methods often encounter hurdles that other farmers do not. Current policies provide disproportionately little support for such farming practices depite the clear benefits — for the soil, the environment, human health and economic growth. This week the U.S. Senate will have a chance to partially correct this by supporting Food and Farm Bill amendments that link crop insurance to sound farming practices. We know that good stewardship builds diverse agroecosystems that are inherently less risky than conventional sytems.... Read More
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Heather Pilatic
May 31, 2012
Twenty years ago this week Dan Quayle went against scientific consensus to publicly proclaim that genetically engineered foods were “substantially equivalent” to non-GE food, and that he would therefore work to ensure that GE food would not be “hampered by unnecessary regulation.” In the pivotal 1992 FDA ruling that Quayle then proudly claimed as part of his “regulatory relief” agenda, the flood gates for GE were opened. We’ve been living in that wake ever since because a small clutch of biotech “true believers,” ideologically anti-... Read More
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Kristin Schafer
May 31, 2012
There's an interesting debate emerging in the public health world. It has to do with whether we need to rejigger our thinking about the risks pesticides and other chemicals pose to children's health. Traditionally, we've had a "disease-oriented" approach, assessing risk based on the severity of a health outcome (think birth defects or cancer). But earlier this month a provocative Environmental Health Perspectives article argued that a "population approach" might be wiser — meaning that even when a health effect is not severe, if it's affecting a... Read More
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Kathryn Gilje
May 31, 2012
On May 25, Syngenta settled the lawsuit brought against them by water systems across the country, agreeing to pay more than $100 million to clean up contamination with their endocrine-disrupting pesticide atrazine. Former Chief Justice Michael Wolff of the Missouri Supreme Court called the settlement a remarkable achievement that will have far-reaching impact on the safety and quality of public drinking water. This lawsuit is a hard-fought, symbolic victory. To make it mean more, we need policy protections and we need Syngenta lobbyists to let scientists and government officials do their... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
May 31, 2012
The "obesity epidemic" is constantly in the news. This year's CDC figures show that 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum. Childhood cancers and neurodevelopmental delays are on the rise. Scientific studies show that many of these health conditions can be linked to exposures to environmental contaminants such as pesticides, and new research is finding that exposures occurring as far back as three generations can cause adverse health conditions today. In this latest study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers exposed mice... Read More
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